The shy and retiring CEO of Microsoft, Steve “there’s a kind of hush” Ballmer, appeared to lose the plot during his last ever keynote speech at CES.
Ballmer is famously strange and theatrical, but given this was the Vole’s last appearance at CES he seemed to overdo everything while saying nothing.
Several demos failed, and the rumoured new Xbox 720 console wasn’t revealed. In fact, nothing was really revealed other than the incredibile performing Ballmer.
The keynote was hosted by Ryan Seacrest who runs an American Top 40 show, no you are thinking of Casey Kasem, we have never heard of Seacrest either. It was conducted in an awkward scripted interview format. Seacrest did not know about about the discussed technologies.
There was also a “tweet choir”, which read out tweets from attendees of the keynote in song format, which was a bit of a mistake. Tech blog Gizmodo, in its live coverage, tweeted: “Don’t go out like this Microsoft. This is your last keynote”.
Ballmer did show off its “metro” interface but this had been pretty much seen before.
WP7’s voice-to-text SMS failed, with the software only picking up the word “sounds” in the phrase “sounds great”. Another demo then failed and the Microsoft staffer had to reach for a different phone.
Ballmer showed Windows 8 on an unreleased Samsung tablet. He also showcased a range of slim Ultrabook laptops based on the platform.
Other than the dancing bear performance of Ballmer there was only one real announcement. That was that the Kinect would be coming to Windows PCs in February. Ballmer highlighted some of the third-party Kinect hacks enabling everything from health care to quirky entertainment applications.
It is fair to say, though, if Ballmer had not been shouting at them, the audience would have nodded off. Apple fanboy Asher Moses from the Sydney Morning Herald clearly experienced a bit of culture shock but did take some amazing pictures.